I met my friend Gene in Sulphur Springs, Texas, mid-way between our cities, at the Southwest Dairy Museum. Hopkins County is the "dairy capital" of Texas, with some 160 dairy farms.
I have a subconscious penchant for placing us in places when festivals occur. We decided to meet at the Southwest Dairy Museum. It turned out that the "March Madness" bike ride was launching at 9 a.m., our rendezvous time. I took a simple video of the first thirty seconds of bikes jangling by
but move on in this post to discuss what we did next.
The museum is usually closed on weekends, but a white-bearded dairy farmer told us that the museum was open today as a special thing. He took us to the film room, where we were the only spectators for a film that advised us that milk was nutritious, clean, healthy and in all things good. We approved.
We tarryed a bit at the exhibitions of early low-tech technology for cream separation and similar processing matters, and I tried to memorize as many dairy cow breeds of the six as I could (hereford, ayrshire, guernsey come to mind). You never know when you need to know a cow.
We drove to nearby Coleman Park, a lovely little trails and fields park, where we began to walk the nature trail. We were approached by a woman walking her pug, who introduced herself to us, gave us left-handed handshakes, and asked if we knew God. We averred that we did, omitting any details of ways our acquaintnance might differ from her own. She advised us that down a particular wooded trail she indicated, we could find tree sap that tasted so sweet it was like knowing God.
We felt that we prefer nature trails to theological discussions with pug-wielding strangers, so we heeded her wise advise. We found no tree sap, but we found ample birdsong and a little Gatorade, and felt well-used for our exertions. We walked around the little pond trail, and I enjoyed hearing of Gene's impending move to Jacksonville, Texas, in the lovely piney woods.
We tried to go see the Music Box Museum in the public library, but this town of 13,000 had a public library which was closed on Saturdays and Sundays. I lamented this loss of a library's mission. I wish we funded more libraries and fewer armaments and corporate subsidies.
I had a stunningly good sandwich at a downtown eatery called the Simple and Fancy Sandwich Shop.
We admired the county courthouse--many Texas counties have quaint courthouses, dating in most cases to a burst of prosperity in the 1880s.
After we had wandered the town in my friend's convertible Miata (certainly the best five thousand dollars any man ever spent on a leisure toy), we parted and drove to our respective homes. I
took a back-highway route, to see the Springtime. I saw dairy farms (Hopkins County has 160 of them, and I saw a good few), horses, running goats, a couple of sheep, and the first wonders of wildflowers.
All the country had a feeling of newness and expanse. I enjoyed today very much. I drove down obscure gravel roads past farm, house and field, listening to public radio and noticing various aging agri-industrial facilities as I drove. I thought to myself that I have never really been "from the country", but I have often lived in towns so near the country as to find a drive to the country a form of home for me.